Ahmad Zamroni / Forbes Indonesia
Ikin Wirawan, 26, found his passion for technology when he was 15 years old; he bought himself a computer and taught himself programming. He studied at Foothill Community College before transferring to UC Berkeley, where he graduated in 2004 with honors in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. He then joined Sparkart, an Internet company in Emeryville, CA, as a software engineer.
But he had a desire to start a company, so six months into the job, he quit and returned to Bandung, where he worked remotely for Sparkart for another year and a half. “I was born here and it is my home, the opportunity here is also bigger compared to mature markets such as the U.S.,” Ikin says.
He then established several online businesses, including an e-commerce platform and a local city search engine. However, they all failed. “A decade ago was too early for an e-commerce business and the business was not scalable,” Ikin says.
Undeterred, he looked into IT outsourcing. He started KiranaTama, in which he continued to work for his company, but as the managing director of his own company. He focused on Ruby on Rails, a niche software that his firm used. Then he started to sell his services to others. “I saw IT outsourcing as an opportunity, as it is more affordable to hire an employee here than in the U.S.,” says Ikin.
In 2009, he established PT Walden Global Services (WGS) and set up an office with four software developers. The firm grew quickly and is now the country’s second largest IT outsourcing firm by staff, with more than 200 employees. WGS has done more than 200 projects for over 150 clients in 25 countries. From Ruby on Rails, the company has added expertise in many languages, and does software development, engineering, technology consulting, management services and cloud solutions.
WGS provides dedicated services to meet individual client needs by assigning a committed team of consultants and developers exclusively to one project at a time. In 2013, WGS became Indonesia’s first Amazon Web Services partner, receiving credibility by linking with one of the world’s e-commerce giants.
But Ikin is not neglecting the local market, with about half of his business coming from the local market with some big clients such as United Tractors, Nutrifood and Kompas Gramedia group. For the international market, Ikin tries to avoid competition with bigger firms and looks for non-corporate clients; such as small IT firms, in the U.S. and Europe markets. The outlook for the global market is bright, with the worldwide IT outsourcing market forecasted to have reached $288 billion in 2013, according to consultancy Gartner.